It's hard to remember a time when there was only one Star trek show. When there was just one cancelled series. When all we could do to live the adventure was to watch these 79 episodes over and over again...and were happy to do it. As a child, I had my fandoms. Star trek was not one of them. Oh, I had always been aware of Star Trek...I liked Star Trek. But along the same lines as Lost In Space. Nothing more. I was never a ..you know..Trekkie (ooooh, that word). When Star trek premiered I had not even turned Two yet. When I was 10, my fandom was The Six Million Dollar Man. I had little or no use for spaceships and stuff. Until 1977. In July of that year, I finally found what all the fuss was about, and saw Star Wars! I was hooked! A freak! A geek! Whatever. Then it was Battlestar Galactica in 1978. Buck Rogers in 1979. But I still hadn't gotten the hang of Trek. It was kind of old school, ya know? Then in December 1979, Star Trek: The Motion Picture was released. I saw it. Eh, it was okay. Kind of long and boring. Then in June of 1982, The Wrath of Khan came out. Wow! I saw this one in the theater about five times. I brought friends. I snuck a cassette recorder into the theater to record the audio. BOOM, baby! I was hooked. I watched all the old episodes. I was a Trekker. What? You thought I was kidding when I said i was never a Trekkie? I wasn't. Never. I hate the term. See, the difference between Trekkies and Trekkers, is that Trekkies go around in costumes and pointed ears holding a phaser and carrying a communicator on their belt. No, I am not talking convention visits. I'm talking about daily life. People who loose themselves in the show at the expense of leading a productive, real life. Trekkers love the show for the great piece of fiction it is, and the way it presents a hopeful view of the future. For this show.. which was born in the most confusing , turbulant , and transformative decade in American history, I loved how Gene Roddenberry and fellow writers helped present stories about us..about human nature, in a Science Fiction medium. I love the cast, and the chemistry they had. But most of all, I love the characters and their relationships with each other. The era of true ensamble casts would not truly come into being for another twenty years, so many of the great and multi cultured crew's development suffered in comparison to the three leads, so for the most part..I'm talking about Captain James Tiberius Kirk, Spock of Vulcan, and Dr. Leonard H McCoy. The holy trinity of Star Trek. Many critisize Shatner's over the top acting as the legendary Kirk, to the point of mocking parody . And, in a lot of ways, that critisizm is justified. But it is also a part of who Kirk is. And it's a trait the character cannot do without. I pity Chris Pine on the new movie. He's going to be forced to emulate Shatner at the expense of his own interpretation. He'd better. Shatner's legacy doesn't leave room for another approach. One technique I used to love of Shatner's was one he learned doing Shakespeare. He would open his mouth to say something...stop...then walk towards the camera, pivot around to another camera, still with his mouth open to say something, and pause before he spoke the line. With that move, the audience is hopelessly fixed on him, waiting to hear what he has to say. Say what you want about over-dramatism, but it worked! Kirk was the penultimate leader. Nothing was more important than the safety of his ship and crew. ..except anybody with a red shirt. Screw them. We can get more. One of the things that could make Kirk a sort of tragic figure is, all the one night stands and conquests aside, he was a very lonely figure. His love for and relationship with his ship , would always keep him from that one special relationship. That one beach to walk on. Of course, Kirks leadership skills would be nothing if not for his two closest friends...Spock and McCoy. Spock has to be my favorite character amongst all other characters in all the series that I've grown to love over the years. Coming from a race of Vulcans, whom ..it is often overlooked..do not lack emotions...they surpress them. Vulcans are..it is pointed out..in fact very emotionally passionate and intense by nature. But in order to avoid not killing each other, the only way to survive their passions, is to reject them, and embrace logic and the sciences. Spock..is half human. so he has to work extra hard all the time..surrounded constantly by humans, to maintain his Vulcan nature. It is this unique factor that has given Leonard Nimoy the greatest challenge facing any actor I know. How do you play something like that? And to pull it off, and have the character maintain a legendary status for all these years? As well as being a sex-symbol for millions of women of the world? Truly a magnificent feat. It is, in fact, Nimoy whom I love to watch on this show, more so than any other character or actor. And some of his best moments are the result of a good sparring session with McCoy. Just an old country doctor, McCoy hated the modern technology, especially the transporter, and argued on the side of humanity all the time. As such, he was the perfect foil for spock, often taking sadiastic joy at throwing razor- barbed jabs at Spock for his cool, inhuman attitude. You never needed to feel sorry for Spock, though. He gave as good as he got. Ah, De...You are truly missed. McCoy was never really given much to do in this series except look and act crotchety. All the more credit to DeForest Kelly for still being able to endure the character to us so well. then there were the supporting cast. The late James Doohan as Montgomery Scott. How many people actually thought for years that it was his own natural accent they were hearing. Good old Scotty, the Miracle Worker. Always worrying about his poor beloved engines bursting at the seams every time Kirk shouted for Warp 8 speeds. The rest of the crew , rather than charactarization , were more noted for the cultural influences they represented at the time. George Takai. an Asian in the command crew, in an era when most Americans were still seeing Asians as an enemy. Not only were WWII and Korea not so distant memories, but Viet-Nam was raging at that time. Sulu had more to do in the beginning of the series than in it's last two Seasons (not counting the movies). I'm glad they decided to make him a Captain eventually. Uhura ..not only a female command member ( in a time when Women's lib had yet to reach fruition), but a Black woman! Remember this era..strewn with civil Rights debates, violence, riots, and deaths. And Chekov? Hello! at the height of the Cold war? Unfortunately, these three had little to do in the show. And it was only Walter Koenig's resemblance to Davey Jones of the Monkees ( and the resulting appeal to young women), that allowed him as much screen time as he was. Had we the ratings technology we have today, Star Trek would have lasted much longer, I'm sure. But as it was, it was cut short after Three seasons. In 1970, syndication brought the show new exposure, resulting in the growing audience, along with a burgening convention circuit. Talks of a revival sparked a return..sort of. Anybody remember the Animated series? A new live action series , then feature was discussed and dismissed in 1976. Then came 1977, and star wars, which started a sci-fi revival, and the rest is history. Now, almost 40 years after it's cancellation.. after a time when the Star Trek universe consisted of 79 old episodes..there are now 6 series ( 7, if you count New Voyages), and 10 movies to experience, with another due next year. We can look back on these 79 episodes as the beginning of a wonderful universe. I can only hope that Abrams is doing the right thing with this movie, and does not end up sounding the death knell for this amazing world permanently. As a wise man once said..." There are always possibilities"
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